skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A new poll on climate change shows some in North Dakota are yet to be convinced; indicted FBI informant central to GOP Biden probe rearrested; and mortgage scams can leave victims clueless and homeless.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Donald Trump wins the South Carolina primary, but there's mixed feelings about what a second Trump term could mean and President Biden addresses border issues with governors.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

Amid organizing buzz, union membership lags, but leaders still see hope

play audio
Play

Monday, November 20, 2023   

States such as Minnesota have seen a tidal wave of union organizing amid public support to improve pay and workplace conditions.

However, labor leaders acknowledge the slow growth of membership, prompting questions about the movement's future.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says nationwide, the number of union jobs last year increased by nearly 2%, but the actual membership rate declined to 10.1%.

In a recent University of Minnesota panel discussion, Bernie Burnham -- president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO -- said the dynamics of organizing have changed, including smaller groups of employees pursuing contracts.

"Like in retail, there are a lot of places that use self-checkout," said Burnham. "So there are less workers in these stores and they're not going the traditional route, the old-school route of joining these bigger bodies that are the bigger unions."

Despite the differences, she suggests there's a lot of energy among the newer voices.

The experts added that corporations are taking a harder line on organizing and that under most laws, it's hard to enforce "anti-union" messaging.

Minnesota recently bolstered its laws, but some panelists noted most workers today don't come from a union household and could use more education and awareness.

Kathy Megarry, vice president for human resources and labor relations with the Metropolitan Airports Commission, suggested there are workers who want to see more value in the dues that are required.

"I have seen unions make actual political changes in terms of how they service their members," said Megarry, "put more money towards organizing, less money to servicing their members. That's a strategy. But then when you do not service your members well, I've seen that hurt some unions, not all."

She said that can be a hindrance for workers who sympathize with the cause but aren't ready to sign up for a union.

Meanwhile, the panelists said they see hope for more diversity within organized labor amid a shift from older white males leading organizing efforts.

They said having more women and people of color taking charge can potentially help with recruitment.



Disclosure: Minnesota AFL-CIO contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Civil Rights, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
The Florida Senate unanimously approved a comprehensive plan championed by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and other advocates to broaden health care accessibility to accommodate the state's growing population. (TotalShape/Pixabay)

Health and Wellness

play sound

The Florida House is expected to follow the Senate's lead by signing off on an initiative to pour millions into the state's health care industry…


Social Issues

play sound

Pro-Ukraine rallies are planned in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco as well as cities across the United States this weekend, marking the …

Social Issues

play sound

New York activists are voicing serious concerns about the state's new congressional maps. The state's top court ordered new voting-district maps to …


Some 200 miles of the Hudson River are considered a Superfund site due to the high amount of contamination, but only 40 miles of the Upper Hudson are General Electric's responsibility. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

New York lawmakers are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to keep dredging the Hudson River. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., sent a …

Social Issues

play sound

A unique collaboration between Ford Motor Co. and 41 community and technical colleges across the country is helping students and the automotive …

New survey data from Maine's Consumers for Affordable Health Care found two of three Mainers said they would have difficulty paying a $500 medical expense.(Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new survey reveals most Mainers support policies requiring medical providers to disclose their facility fees before they receive treatment…

Social Issues

play sound

People who receive emergency food services from New Mexico food banks and other charitable organizations were among those at a strategic summit Friday…

Environment

play sound

North Dakota voters are divided on climate change matters, according to new polling data. To get more community buy-in for climate solutions…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021